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Stone church hall demolition divides community

PUBLISHED: 13:27 04 August 2011

Stone Church and church hall

Stone Church and church hall

Archant

»Plans for the demolition of a 160-year-old church hall which have divided a community are set to be ­decided.

Representatives of St Mary’s Church, Stone, wish to replace the stone-built hall with six apartments and build new parish rooms adjacent to the 13th century church.

The proposal has resulted in strong opposition from neighbours, particularly in Bell Close, who have written to Dartford Borough Council expressing concern.

Negative

Michael Gaughan, said: “The proposed block of flats would have a negative effect on the surrounding area and have an overbearing appearance on the terrace of houses it would back on to.”

The plan, due to be discussed by Dartford Borough Council tonight, has also ­received strong support with 24 letters of approval submitted.

Letters of support have come from Greenhithe and Dartford but also as far afield as Rochester, Bromley, ­Bexleyheath and even Lincolnshire. In total nine ­letters of objection have been written and this is supported by Stone Parish Council.

The council states: “There are very few supporters among residents living in the immediate proximity to both application sites and, as such, the council feels that the strong opposition must be taken into consideration when assessing the applications.”

This is the second application for flats to replace the hall, the first, for five four bedroom apartments, was rejected last year.

‘Imperative’

Parking problems are a strong concern, with 10 spaces to be provided, and Kent Highways has requested a further two are added.

Church representatives state building flats is ­required to finance construction of the new community hall, which will have a ­modern kitchen and toilets.

A letter from the church’s agent Jacqui Andrews says: “It is imperative proper ­accommodation and facilities are provided as the church is in desperate need of WC and kitchen provision to meet the needs of this ­parish working with the community in the 21st century.”

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